General practitioners, or GPs, provide primary and continuing medical care for patients in the community. They take account of physical, emotional and social factors when diagnosing illness and recommending the required treatment. Patients may be referred to hospital clinics for further assessment and possibly for treatment.
GPs may run specialist clinics within the practice for patients with specific conditions. They increasingly work as part of a team alongside other healthcare professionals, including community health doctors, to discuss care options for patients and their families and help patients to take responsibility for their own health.
GPs who are partners in a practice are also responsible for the running of the practice, which involves a range of administrative activities, such as employing staff, managing contracts and working within strict budgets.
Partners in a practice may decide to expand their career portfolio and specialise in a specific area of medicine, such as obstetrics and gynaecology, psychiatry or orthopaedics. They may also specialise in areas such as IT, human resource management, medical education or training.